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A Quick Overview of General Systems Theory (GST) According to Ludwig von Bertalanfy (1968), a “ system” dynamic complex of interacting is a components functioning as a whole to produce an action or object. By studying systems or applying “ systems concepts” , practitioners from a variety of disciplines have an opportunity to explain, predict and/or control the result of a particular system.Components

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Input Process Figure 1. A basic system

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Output

Systems naturally exist. A infinite number of systems can be identified in nature: hydrologic system, respiratory system, circulatory system, nervous system, reproductive system, muscle system, skeletal system, weather system, tree, forests, amoeba, etc. Both physical and biological science have employed a “ s approach”examineand explain many phenomena and forms existing system’ to in nature. Natural systems are often meticulously described as a means to understand how a particular idea, object or action came into being or how it functions. Descriptive information about the output (viz., an action or product) is recorded based on observations and measurements. Each system component having an identifiable function isanalyzed to determine how it contributes to the change of the input (viz. actions or materials) into the output of the system. Man-made systems are created for the purpose of producing a specific action or product. Several examples of man-made systems include any manufacturing plant and its equipment, any service business and the procedures it follows, any government and its bureaus or officers, andany educational institution and its programs. Controlling the nature of output of a system begins with a clear description of the output desired. Either performance requirements of the action or the product specifications are established prior to the actual development and implimentation of the system. Those actions or materials that are to be transformed by the system into other actions orproducts are identified and described as inputs of the system. The discrepancy between the input and output identify the specific changes that need to take place as a result of functions performed by the system’ s components. The design and/or selection of a wide variety of alternative components to perform the specific functions are made before actual implimentation. Components can be tested tooptimize the system in terms of producing the output with least cost and effort. Systems science formally came into being during the 1920’ examine existing natural s to systems as well as to design man-made systems. The following three fields are examples of applications of systems science: Systems engineering, i.e., scientific planning, design, evaluation, and construction of man-machine systems;Operations research, i.e., scientific control of existing
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systems of men, machines, materials, money, etc.; and Human engineering, i.e., scientific adaption of systems especially machines in order to obtain maximum efficiency with a minimum of cost and other expenses. (Von Bertalanfy, L. (1968) General Systems Theory. George Braziller, Inc.:New York. p.91) Applying General SystemsWith a systems concept integrated into how we think about bringing about a predetermined outcome, a systems view is developed. The application of a systems view is called a systems approach. Systems views are applied to 1) analyze existing systems, 2) solve problems, or 3) develop man-made systems. Systems analysis employs post hoc description of existing systems. Identification of the input(operational definition) and the description of the applied process(es) of transformation establish a repeatable/replicable output. Through analysis each input and component process is thoroughly investigated which often lead to hypotheses about how the system functions and how changes in either the input or process will affect output. A system (man-made) is an entity developed to result in some...
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